Aberrant 2.0 Trinity
- Equipment and game mechanics
Over two and a half centuries ago, Doctor Calvin Hammersmith stumbled upon a discovery which changed the face of the world, bringing in posthumans and embroiling humanity in something greater than itself, drawing the attention of the Doyen and changing its fate forever. These Inspired, as they were originally called, changed the world. Great inventions of every form changed the world. Great men built nations and brought sweeping changes to the world, some good, others horrific.
Two of them stood above the rest. One of them, Maxwell Anderson Mercer, was gifted with the power to see the future. He saw the glories and horrors of the centuries to come, and created the Aeon Society to allow humanity to learn, eventually, from its mistakes, to allow it to progress. Another, his dear confidante, his friend, Michael Daemon Dhonigal, sought to give humanity the power to fight its own fate, to use the knowledge to better the world.
Were famous historical figures Inspired? It is hard to say. It is unlikely that not a single Nova or Psiad or Daredevil appeared in prehistoric times, and certainly without the impetus of the Hammersmith device, the Galatea incident, or the Proxies and the Prometheus Chambers, they would have been far weaker than what one would think. However, that would still have been enough to make their influence felt.
Aeon believes that at least a few historical figures were Inspired, but since the Hammersmith incident propagated throughout space and time, it is not impossible that the reason for these ancient Inspired was entirely due to the Hammersmith detonation's uncontrolled propagation, and that they simply ended up being "canceled out" outside of small caches of Z-Ray animated mummies and tomb guardian statues and powerful ancient swords supposedly possessed by demons.
Certainly a weak Nova or Psiad could be slain by old age or bad luck or enemy action and their artifacts would have crumbled to dust long ago.
The Aberrant War was both a blessing and a bane to transhuman movements everywhere. On one hand, the Novas, those beautiful mad gods, had been a source of such pain and loss and had destroyed so much. On the other hand, it was human enhancement that had counteracted it. Without cognitive enhancements, the plans of the mad Sphinxes would never have been detected. It was cyborgs who were always at the front fighting the twisted sub-aberrants. At the worst of the backlash, humanity saw human enhancement as a necessary evil. Now, it is much more than that, something accepted, mainstream, sometimes even embraced. Nanotech surgeons and the increasing capability of integrated machinery have made enhancement surgery and body reprofiling ever-easier. Once limited to the rich and the military, now human enhancement has become something accessible to the middle classes of the world.
The potential exists for a drastic reevaluation of the meaning of humanity due to ever-advancing technology. But as long as the memories of the Aberrant War exist, it will never happen. Human enhancement is accepted and even desirable, but actual alteration to the human body plan is not.
Most standard augmentations are built via either synthetic tissue (biological enhancement) or advanced "dry" materials (cybernetic enhancement). The synthetic tissue method of augmentation is much more cost-effective but lacks the level of sheer power that cybernetic modification can provide. Most combatants tend to prefer "dry" cyberware, the exception being the Norca, who use genotyped bioenhancement to minimize interference with their psi mode.
All systems are self-healing and self-diagnosing, although not all are self-powered. Heavy cybernetic enhancement generally requires dedicated power sources-implanted fuel cells are the most common. Due to (relative) vulnerability to cyberkinetics and electrokinetics, counter-subversion systems are found in all implant systems, although military grade ones have heavier protection and are often backed with anti-subversion bioapps.
Psions are an artificial Inspired posthuman, created in the Doyen-gifted (and later reproduced) Prometheus Chambers. As an artificial induction of an Inspired subtype Psions are extremely common (anywhere from 1 in 500 to 1 in 100 people have the potential to become Psions, allowing for a population of roughly 24 million to 120 million Gifted)
Pre-Aberrant War Psions existed but were rare. The US originally had Project WINTERGREEN, which had identified the potential of psychomorphs (Psions/Psiads) and was working on a method to create them, but work was slow without Doyen-derived biotech. Project Pandora similarly had some success, but not much, and until the Doyen came along with their gift Psions were virtually nonexistent.
Superiors are an artifical expression of the Paramorph Inspired subtype, with control over probability and time. The Superior project is not fully understood, for all that multiple countries have hit on the process. What they do know is that Superiors are noetically inactive, inexplicably capable, and gifted with superhuman capability and some degree of "luck" although the true extent of their power is not known yet.
Hardtech and Biotech
Hard technology is based off of "normal" materials, instead of the psionically-active bioapp matrix the Doyen gifted along with Prometheus Chambers, while biotechnology is derived from alien gifts and capable of integration with other living things, melding with their noetic signatures.
Biotech is cheaper and often has higher performance than equivalent hardtech, but generally has a smaller potential user base. Scarab frigates cost only slightly more than most escorts despite their larger size and greater overall capability, but require a Gifted crew to operate. Locust fighters cost half as much as the E-15 despite having superior characteristics. The Leviathans were possible to construct despite hardtech ships of that size being so cost-prohibitive no attempt to build one has ever gotten off the drawing boards. BioVARGs are superior yet cheaper than hardtech VARGs. The list goes on.
Furthermore, bioapps can be attuned to a user. Attunement requires a few days and a DNA sample, but most of the process is automated and the time taken is largely waiting. Attuned biotech performs even better than unattuned biotech, or provides additional benefit. Unattuned biotech can be used by anyone, but is generally either simple or the additional systems required to allow use by neutrals (rather than by psions) increases the cost significantly, to hardtech levels of cost.
Although considered "Biotech", most human-built bioapps are hybrids, using hard-technology hyperfusion power systems rather than electrokinetic organs and fusion torches in conjunction with telekinetic lift systems to provide them with this capability. These cybernetics allow increased efficiency while not compromising bioapp attunement.
Frontline soldiers are invariably equipped with VAS systems or powered combat armor depending on the nation and its equipment standards, generally with some degree of additional sensor capability and strength and speed enhancement. Most soldiers are additional given moderate enhancement to provide superior combat capability, generally biotechnological in nature to minimize cost.
Armaments are commonly coil rifles, which fire extremely high velocity (nearing 3-4 kilometers a second) hardened darts. These flechettes are intended to hook or otherwise deform inside a body after penetrating armor, creating horrific wound channels as they tear curved paths into flesh and through bone, shedding shards of red-hot metal into the cavity. Airbursting grenade launchers are common additional attachments, often multishot ones which deliver a variety of payloads from conventional to chemical.
Soldiers also tend to carry a variety of disposable munitions, such as disposable fire-and-forget missiles or backpack mounted automatic bomblet projectors.
The multinational Orbital Monitoring Network (OMN, normally abbreviated as "OMEN") is a fusion of the remaining NATO and Chinese orbital defense satellites, with additional reinforcement from newly launched anti-orbital and anti-warship systems. The OMeN network provides constant global coverage, with applications including satellite reconnaissance, precision strikes, and strategic saturation.
OMeN satellites come in one of six types of platform:
- Strategic Deterrence: Heavily shielded against quantum interference and bristling with active defenses, these satellites were intended to eliminate prime threats and strategic targets. Generally carrying a dozen pure-fusion kill vehicles, each with multi-megaton submunitions, single SD satellites are capable of ending entire nations. These century-old systems have been fired only once in their usage. Later refits have replaced their targeting systems and added limited anti-ship capability via improved fusion drives on the missiles.
- Anti-Space: Similar in design to the strategic deterrence satellites (in fact, they are based on a refinement of the Earth Strike chassis), anti-space designs replace the strategic missiles with rapid-acceleration multistage rockets tipped with a handful of fusion warhead submunitions and more penetration aids.
- Precision: Precision kill satellites are the primary anti-aberrant function. Built around a large speed-of-light weapon such as a laser or particle beam, these satellites offer sub-decameter CEP bombardments which arrive exceedingly quickly and accurately, with enough punch to kill most aberrants or armored vehicles.
- Kinetic: The most common OMeN satellite and the most disposable, a kinetic strike satellite is little more than a sensor bus with a dozen chemical rocket-propelled and terminally guided depleted uranium rods.
- T&T: Guardian satellites provide constant ECM, ECCM, and observation functions, feeding targeting data to the rest of the network.
- Mirror: Several OMeN satellites are mirrors for ground-based lasers instead of using their own power. These mirrors are cheap and numerous, and a network of them provide extensive coverage of global affairs, but delay the time to align a strike. Their existence allows an OMeN response virtually anywhere with some level of delay.
There are also ground-based support sites, which provide additional space monitoring and ground-based laser systems.
Escorts or corvettes, like the Peregrine, Phoenix, or Guardian are small ships that require larger vessels to dock with, as their endurance is measured in days or weeks instead of months. These vessels bridge the gap between fighter and capital ship, providing the ability to carry heavier weapons but still maintaining the maneuverability and versatility of a fighter.
Frigates are the general purpose warships which every nation maintains. There are easily hundreds of frigates in existence, from the tiny 10 kiloton Scarab primarily used by Orgotek and the Legions to the 60,000 ton Kestrel-class used by the FSA and sold by its shipyards. The most common frigate is the Dragon, a 190 meter long, 45 kiloton Chinese design with a primary armament of two double 400mm mass drivers supported by a dozen laser blisters and a quartet of missile launchers.
- Scarab class: The Scarab is an Orgotek-designed and manufactured vessel, a mere 10,000 tons of biotechnology with a half-dozen heavy lasers and a quartet of light coilguns backing two missile launchers which take up most of the length of the hull. Requiring an all-psion crew, the Scarab is cheap, capable of atmospheric operation, and operated by China, the Legions, and Orgotek. In total, 96 Scarabs are in operation, of which 44 are Legion, 30 are Chinese, 10 are Upeo-operated, and both Orgotek and the Aeon Trinity operate six. Rumors exist of experimental Scarab designs with advanced bioapps not included in this count, with features such as electrokinetic stealth fields or even tactical teleportation capability.
- Dragon class: The 190 meter long L-B Dragon is the most numerous and general purpose frigate, armed with two missile launchers and a pair of medium mass driver turrets supported by a secondary laser armament of six medium naval lasers. China is the primary operator of this frigate design, operating almost 70 of the vessels, although both South America and the UAN operate three dozen of the vessels apiece and have licensed the design.
Cruisers are dedicated warships capable of general purpose operations. Only a handful of cruisers exist, vessels like the L-B Novastorm being the most common design archetype, with slightly more than a half-dozen vessels of similar specifications operating between several nations. Most cruiser designs have multi-hundred kiloton masses due to being densely packed with armor, hyperfusion generators, and weapons systems and often ending up the size of oceangoing superfreighters. Very few polities can maintain even a single cruiser without bankrupting themselves, and to operate one is a mark of prestige.
- Novastorm class: The 0.7 million ton, 500 meter long premier combatant of the People's Liberation Army Space Force and the UAN, the Novastorm is a one-vessel naval force. Armed with six massive coilguns and a dozen plasma cannon, plus five heavy missile launchers, and equipped with heavy olaminium armor, no vessel can survive a one-on-one engagement with a Novastorm. Only seven of these vessels exist, four in the Chinese navy, two in the UAN fleet, exchanged for several tesser systems, and a downgraded variant sold to the British at exorbitant cost.
- Aerie class: The Aerie class are carriers rather than pure combatant ships, Aeries are built on the same basic lines as a Novastorm but remove most of the weapons bays for significantly greater fighter capacity. With the ability to carry 100 assault fighters and a dozen corvettes, an Aerie can provide heavy fighter and escort cover to any fleet, although their light armaments make them vulnerable to direct assault. Only China operates the Aerie so far, with a pair of vessels in service.
- Enterprise class: A lighter cruiser (only ~300m long and 120,000 tons), the Enterprise is a missile cruiser, heavily based on its missile armament for long-range attack with only a handful of coilguns and lasers for closer defense. An old and venerable design, the latest Block III overhauls fire control systems and provides additional support for anti-shipping combat in the form of an additional pair of missile tubes, bringing the total to 10, although firing all 10 at maximum rate precipitously drains the ship's magazines. The FSA operates three of these warships and is constructing a fourth.
- Aquila class: The newest cruiser design, only one such vessel currently exists, built by South America. Approximately 250 meters long it is the smallest cruiser built to date but still capable of holding its own, mostly due to the elimination of what were considered "unnecessary" such as fighter bays, ammunition magazines and spin-gravity sections. The Aquila is the first vessel to be laid out horizontally, due to the use of Qin and Norca-derived pseudogravity bioapps, and much data on its internal specifications is classified. What is known is that the vessel uses an all-energy mixed arsenal of plasma guns and lasers and masses approximately 92,000 tons, only 50% more than a Kestrel.